Yerkanat Kanafin

Specialization: Natural Sciences in Chemistry. Internship: The Open University, UK.

The British internship of Yerkanat, 23-year-old researcher of the National Center for Biotechnology in Stepnogorsk, took even more than three months that is typical for such events. This was caused by the need for a large amount of experimental work. So what gave him the internship in the United Kingdom with grant from Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation?

How the interest in chemistry raised in your life?
My teacher – Rabiga Sekerbayevna Mukhammedi — helped me to develop it. It happened when I was in school in my native Balkhash. As a mentor, she did her best, and after graduation advised one good scientific organization in Karaganda. Working there in the laboratory, I realized how interesting the science can be, and decided to become a scientist.

What impressed you most during your internship in the UK?
Great Britain is the first Western country I’ve visited. Both culturally and architecturally it differs much from the CIS countries. The British seemed to me as hasteless and relaxed people. They can leave early from work or have long conversations. It surprised me. However, this does not prevent them from being productive, as they are very successful in effective planning. And of course, we should mention the highly developed scientific infrastructure of the country, which, of course, helped me in the implementation of the scientific project.

What did you achieve during the internship?
I worked under supervision of Dr. Simon R. Collinson, an expert in materials chemistry and catalysis. I learned what it feels like working under the guidance of a world recognized scientist. Thanks to the internship, I gained a wealth of experience with modern equipment — spectrometers, microscopes and chromatographs. We were engaged in the development of a biocatalyst for the production of biodiesel from food waste. And we have achieved positive results: we have managed to speed up the reaction of the final product, but the process still needs to be improved. The project has a great practical importance for waste management and the development of green energy. During the internship, I reported on the work orally every week, and by the end I presented the project to everyine. During the work I faced many difficulties at various stages, but was able to finish everything on time. So, I think became skilled in the time management. And, of course, I also improved the level of English. In my spare time I managed to see a lot of interesting places, attractions and, of course, London.

What do you aspire to do next?
I have already had experience in three Kazakhstan laboratories, now I added experience in the British one. After the internship, I saw my future more clearly, so to speak. After returning to Kazakhstan, I continued my work in the National Center for Biotechnology and was promoted. Now I work in the project for the development of mining technology. And here is the latest news — I was accepted into a PhD program at the University of Manchester, and on my 24th birthday (September 17) I will begin another exciting project on polymeric membranes in the UK. The program will last four years.

3.07.18, Success stories

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